Issue 13

Bad Movie Addiction Syndrome


                What is our fascination with bad movies?  I don't know why, but bad movies have a strange hold over me.  Instead of spending my time at parties or with friends talking about things I'm interested in, I find myself compelled to go on and on about movies I simply could not stand.  I could not stand them so much that every excruciating detail is burned into my mind, which gives me perfect recall of every bad line.  Bad movies are like a cold that you can get rid of only by passing it on to someone else.  They are a virus that digs into our consciousness until we give in to it, and they are highly contagious.  The tension of holding in a bad movie all to myself can become downright painful.  I can resist the urge to talk for a reasonable length of time, but I'm only human.  Get someone else in the group started, and I break down instantly, desperately trying to shift the conversation from someone else's bad movie to mine.

                I remember seeing a movie so bad once that it took me longer to rant about the movie than it did for me to watch it.  I talked that movie up so well, I somehow convinced my brother's then-current girlfriend to go see how bad it was for herself.  She never spoke to me again.

                Bad movies get me so angry.  It isn't so much the $7.50 I was ripped off or the waste of two hours.  Heck, I might have gotten up and left.  But I couldn't.  I was mesmerized, locked with a tractor beam in my chair.  I love movies, and I'll sit through them to the final fade out, hoping against hope in the deepest recesses of my heart that things will turn around, that the movie won't disappoint me.  It's a love affair with celluloid, a love affair is that wildly out of control.  And, as it is with all love, the lover is blind to the faults of his or her beloved, at least until the relationship is over.  It's like rehashing the parts of the relationship that went sour as I go on and on about how bad it was, talking to as many people as will listen to me.  Eventually the fever passes, and I am free to think about something else for a while, like going to another movie.

                When a store rips me off, I can usually get my money back and never give them my business again.  But with a bad movie, I can't get my cash or time back.  Plus there's no real person or organization upon whom to focus my wrath.  Should I stop seeing movies made by that company?  After three movies, I'd never see a movie again.  From that director?  With those actors?  That Best Boy or Grip?  Who is there for me to punish?  Movies are made by phantom partners no one ever gets to meet, entities that go into business to make a single movie, than go out of business.  I am left without having tasted any revenge.  And my mind is left with the bad aftertaste of bad acting, a bad script, and a bad memory.

                I can understand not talking too much about a good movie.  After all, I know I'm willing to kill someone who tells me that the movie I really want to see ends with the guy actually being a woman or everybody dead.  As a race, we understand instinctually that talking too much about a good movie is crude, unintelligent, animal behavior punishable by painful and exotic tortures.  Everybody knows this, that is, except for critics.

                I'm amazed at how most critics simply can't seem to talk about a movie without revealing the entire plot and who dies in the end.  I'm especially intrigued by how they'll state the obvious: "This action movie is no Academy Award winner."  Duh.  I already know that most action flicks have terrible dialogue and plot holes you can drive a truck through.  They wouldn't be as interesting if they were cluttered with a real story or believable characters.

                I suppose the irony is that I keep going back.  Secretly, I sneak out to see them whenever I'm feeling low about myself.  I'll sit smugly during the whole movie, noticing every flaw and thinking things like, "I can do better than this," or "if they bought this piece of crap maybe there's a market for my stuff, which is good."  I've considered seeking medical help, and I've even looked for a 12-step program in the Yellow Pages.  I guess that either I'm a hopeless romantic or I have a penchant for cardboard characters.

                Or, as I have considered more than once, perhaps I just really love bad movies.


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